Mollymawks on the Bounty Islands

Salvin's Mollymawk landing amongst erect crested penguins and other mollymawks on the Bounty IslandsIn cold southern seas mollymawks roam great distances. They are small albatrosses and nest in very crowded colonies. They cram onto the Bounty Islands four hundred miles east of New Zealand's South Island. Seven hundred and fifty thousand gaze out from this tiny outpost of continental granite jutting from a stormy sea. They are strong fliers and quite often find landing difficult, this still from an NHNZ Images movie clip shows one just beginning to land.

There are no plants other than seaweeds, lichens and such on any of the Bounty Island group. They seem to have rejected any colonisation by grasses, bushes and trees. Only seabirds cling to the ledges of their city without flowers. What more security could a mollymawk have than this fortress of a nursery? Other than mollymawks and penguins, little has made use of the Bounties. The mollymawks return each year, bringing nothing in, taking nothing away.

The twenty or so islands and rocks which form the Bounties group were discovered by Capt William Bligh in 1788. He named the islands after his ship the Bounty which subsequently had fame as the Mutiny on the Bounty.

According to Wikipedia the name mollymawk stems from a 17th century German corruption of the dutch Mallemugge, which means mal - foolish or crazy and mok - gull.

Check out other interesting, intriguing and arresting images from the NHNZ stockshot library.